My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lesson 30 Light Source

Sorry, since Blogger went down (and this post went with it) it's taken a while to bring this post back, but here it is:

I love the way a dramatic light source looks. There are many amazing works of art out there, but my favorites use the light in interesting ways.

Here is some art I absolutely love. Note which direction the light is coming from:

This is by Da Vinci and is called "The Adoration of the Magi." It is a simple sepia-tone, but very dramatic and very lovely. The light is coming from the left and slightly above. Note how it hits the top of the eyelids, the upper cheeks, the bridge of the nose, the bottom lip, and chin.

This is "Water Lily Pond" by Claude Monet. Light is coming from the right and above. Note how the left side of the weeping willow in the background is dark, setting off the highlighted leaves on the right. Also the upper part of the railing on the bridge is highlighted. Both Monet and Da Vinci made sure that their light source was constant throughout their pictures.

You don't want to highlight a part that light should be in shadow.

Of course, "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" by Vermeer has a strong and dramatic light source coming from the upper left. Note how deep the shadows are on the right.

Now, here is one of my all time favorite paintings. It was done by my father, Sheryl Bodily, and has an unusual light source.

The sun is setting behind the viewer, so no direct light is hitting the man or horse. However, it's hitting the cloud high in the sky, reflecting on the water, which reflects on the horse's shins and nose, as well as his back end.

Fun, huh? So the next time you look at a piece of art you admire, check which direction the light is coming from and see how the artist used it to draw attention or add drama. And the next time you plan your own artwork, think about what kind of light you want to use, which direction it will come from, and what it will hit within the picture. Your final effect will blow your viewers away!


  1. Cool! I love learning more about art from you. Thanks!

  2. Leisha, you're welcome! There is still so much I want to learn about art, too. It's most enlightening learning from other artists and the masters.

  3. I see the talent clearly runs in the family! I've always loved that Vermeer and Da Vinci.

  4. Lydia, I always felt like the luckiest child in the world to have my dad work from home and be able to learn from him. And you can't go wrong with the masters! Their work is so beautiful!


Theme images by Zarin Ficklin. Powered by Blogger.

Copyright 2011

Site by Zarin Ficklin